Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Do You Have A Victim Mentality

Photo Credit El Centro Network

These are the notes to the Tuesday Night Bible Study at Church of Divine Guidance.  It is the third in my series of studies on stress, anxiety, worry, and depression.  The audio recording of the study is included at the end of the notes.

In the last couple of months I’ve talked about what the Bible says about stress, anxiety, worry, depression and discouragement.  Like I said I am not a physiatrist, psychologist, or trained counselor.  I am merely giving you what the Bible says along with information from things I read from healthcare professionals. 
I recently read some excerpts from a book, ”Victory Over Depression With and Without Medicines” written by a Christian, Psychiatrist, Dr. Bergina Isbell, who has trained at The Mayo Clinic and John Hopkins.
The World Health Organization estimates 350 million people suffer from depression globally, and depression knows no religious, racial, gender, or economic boundaries. But, depression does have boundaries in terms of how it affects your life!
But before that I want to talk about something that often comes with anxiety, stress, and depression, and that is the feeling that everything you touch falls apart, and everything and everyone is against you.  You feel that you're a victim rather than the conqueror that the Bible says you are and that you are constantly affirming. 
Romans 8:37-39 NASB But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
If you remember from an earlier Bible Study and a sermon I mentioned some signs that you may be headed for a crash. 
Unrealistic Expectations of Others

When we are depressed we often put the blame on  others and are angry at them for the way we feel.

An Unrealistic View on Life
We think that now that we are Christians everything should be perfect.

An Unrealistic Desire to Be Liked by Everyone

Well everybody is not going to like you so don’t sweat it.  Everybody didn’t like Jesus and we can’t let what others think about us dominate our lives we should be seeking the approval of God and not man. 

We'll when those things don’t happen we can become depressed and in danger of developing a victim mentality.

Do You Have A Victim Mentality?

     Do you feel that you're living with an impossibility?
     An insurmountable challenge that you’re powerless to change?
     Maybe it's a life long dream that has never come true. 
     Maybe it’s a chronic pain, maybe a wall you’ve slammed into in your career.

Whatever it is, you’ve run out of options. No pastor, no professional, no friend—not even you, yourself—can bring the change that’s needed. You’re stuck.  You feel like you're a victim of all the bad that can happen in life.  Be careful you may be developing a victim mentality.

Let's read that Romans scripture again this time starting at the 31st verse.

Romans 8:31-39 NIV  What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”  No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

When we allow the Victim Mentality to take over our mind, we only notice that things just keep getting bad and going wrong. We see bad things happening so many times, that we let negativity get in our head and highlight the difficult times. We start to think that no matter what happens, it's eventually going to go bad, even if it's good right now. That's the worst thing about a victim’s mentality: it's so powerfully negative that it's like a wall that doesn't allow any positive thoughts to get in. Even if something positive happens, the victim’s mentality just says, “give it a minute… bad things are coming to steal that away.  It’s just a matter of time; it always goes bad.”

The victim mentality will suck the life out of you, the joy out of you, the peace out of you, and the hope out of you. It will leave you in despair and in depression.

When we see even Christians that have allowed the Victim Mentality to get in their head, and it has stolen their joy and their peace. They will start doing things you never thought they would do.  The extreme would be taking their own life, but they will have affairs, cheat, and steal all sorts of things you never thought they would

Depression and despair make you feel like everything goes bad and you feel like there's never going to be anything good. You kind of throw your hands up and say, “Well, forget it… there is no hope!” Then people move into substance abuse, self-medication, pornography and you can think, “Hey, maybe this is going to help me.”

The Victim Mentality will take you down the road of self-destruction. God  wants to rip out the victim mentality, those lies which the enemy wants you to believe and make you think doomsday negative victim thoughts. God wants you to be free from that.

Philippians 4:12-13 NIV I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Jeremiah 29:11 NIV For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord , “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

You Can Survive Your Crisis

We have all gone through a number of crisis in our lives. At the time it was the absolute worst thing that ever happened.  Remember when that first elementary school crush dumped you, then that middle school crush, then the love of your life high school sweetheart. At the time you felt that your heart would break and you would never recover. 

What about that time you lost your job and you had tons of debt.  That time you learned that your spouse was cheating.  When you got the news that your mother or father has gone to be with the Lord, or your spouse had a terminal illness, your child has just had a serious accident.  I could go on and on and the crisis could get even more serious.

No matter how much we say that we love the Lord and know that He will never leave or forsake us, no matter how much we read the Bible and pray, at those times we don’t think we’re to get through this. Whether you want to admit it or not that’s doubt.  For some the feeling passes quickly, for others of us it takes a lot longer and some of us may never get over it.

Having gone through all the examples that I gave you I can tell you it’s not easy but you can and will survive.  The key for me was realizing that no matter how bad the situation or how long it lasted that God was in control even if it meant that the crisis may not end in this lifetime.

4 Secrets to Surviving Anything

Secret 1. You shouldn’t try to face the crisis alone. Jesus knew we would face difficult times. “In this world there will be many trials, but take heart for I have overcome the world.” Jesus has provided for us in our most difficult times. Allow people to minister to you by accepting their offers to help. Often we don’t want to impose or be thought weak. Many years ago a Pastor said something that many of you have heard me say.“You are robbing people of a blessing when you don’t allow them to help you.” Christians are to act as the body of Christ, reaching out to those in need. Allowing others to help you will bring you comfort and give them the chance to minister.

Secret 2. Allowing others to help allows you to take care of yourself. "The hour to hour, day in day out struggle of recovering from a crisis puts an incredible burden on the victim and their family. There is little time for rest during the recovery process. Limited rest results in your brain being on overload. It’s difficult to think things through when you are tired. Allowing others to help lets you take a break, a chance to recharge.

Secret 3. Seek God in Honest Communication. In times of crisis God is there to listen to our deepest fears, our anger, our frustration, and our questions. He is never offended by our honest communication with Him. God would rather you be engaged and mad at Him than ignore Him. While dealing with crisis you can be completely honest with God. He never fails to answer. That answer may be yes, no, wait, or I have something better. He loves you and knows what’s best.  Many have found a new, fresh, fulfilling relationship with God during their most trying times

Secret 4. Don’t Second Guess Yourself.  After a crisis the tendency is to ask “What if_____?” It is normal for humans to wish bad things hadn’t happened. But during a time of crisis you can’t waste time wondering ‘what if?’ you have to spend your energy on the recovery.

Good News

If you have a victim mentality I’ve got great news.

The answer is truth

“You have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him”(Ephesians 4:21 NLT).

The secret to personal change is not willpower. The secret is to know and face the truth. You must know and face the truth about yourself and your nature if you want to change.

Nothing will change in your life until you know and face the truth about your weaknesses, your relationships, your successes and failures, and your past and future.

Nothing changes until you know and face the truth. And that truth is found in Jesus Christ.

Why is it necessary to learn the truth before anything can change in your life? Here’s why: Behind every self-defeating habit in your life is a lie that you believe.

What about the things you say to yourself about yourself? Is the way you think about your past or about some event the truth, or is the truth what God says about it?

The Bible teaches that personal change starts with truth. It is the truth that sets you free. Who is the truth? It’s Jesus, and because Jesus is the truth, he will always tell you the truth. His word is the truth.

John 8:31-32 NIV To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.  Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

The Bible is His Word, and that means the Bible is truth.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 NIV All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

What you hear on television or read in books isn’t always going to help you, because it’s not always the truth. Have you learned that? But what God tells you is always going to be the truth. God’s Word shows you how to get back to the life you were created to live, and then it shows you how to stay on God’s path.

This is why it is so important for you to have a daily quiet time in the Word of God. Nothing will change until you get the truth into your heart. As long as you build your life on a foundation of lies, misconceptions, deceptions, or half-truths, you will never change. But when you face the truth and respond to the truth, you will begin to see change in your life.

The way you think determines the way you feel, and the way you feel determines the way you act. If you want to change the way you act, start by changing the way you think. In addition, if you want to change the way you feel, you must start with the way you think.

You can’t fight your way into a feeling. You must change the way you think. That will change the way you feel, which will then change the way you act. The Bible says,

Ephesians 4:20-24 NIV That, however, is not the way of life you learned when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

Romans 12:2 NIV Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

 The renewal of your mind is related to the word “repentance.” I know repentance is a dirty word for a lot of people. They think it means something bad, something they don’t really want to do, something painful. They think of a guy standing on a street corner with a sign that says, “Repent! The world’s about to end!”

Repentance is about more than changing your behavior. It is about changing your mind and learning to think differently. “Repent” simply means to make a mental U-turn.

You turn from guilt to forgiveness. You turn from frustration to freedom, from darkness to light, from hatred and bitterness to love.

You may also need to change the way you think about God. He’s not mad at you; he’s mad about you! You’re deeply flawed, but you’re deeply loved.

Start with your mind, and change the way you think about your relationships, the economy, the world, and your past, present, and future.

Philippians 4:8 NIV Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. (emphasis mine)

Too often our thoughts take on a life of their own, wandering freely and sometimes landing in dark places. Changing the way you think will then affect your emotions and your behavior.  If that sounds daunting or even impossible, remember that when God calls us to do something, He enables us to do it.

Philippians 4:12-13 NIV I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Now back to what I read from by Dr. Bergina Isbell from ”Victory Over Depression With and Without Medicines


When a wound is first inflicted, touching it can be very painful. As the wound heals, it becomes no longer painful, though a scar may remain. Healing from wounds inflicted by depression is possible. Focusing on positive and encouraging material actively changes your mind and your brain over time. As believers we know that the Bible promises healing of all sickness, illness, and disease. We are told to ask in prayer for healing and then give thanksgiving in faith for what we asked (1 Thessalonians 5:18). King David did this often. He began many songs, or Psalms, with an honest account of his feelings, but then he seems to abruptly turn the focus from himself to his God, offering praise for things that God had already done and for the future things he had faith that He would do. Many have noticed benefit from turning their hurting hearts towards helping others. Again, this takes the focus off of you, ultimately helping with your healing process and that of others. For some, you will experience healing swiftly. For others, the process may take longer and a medicine or other intervention is helpful.
The story is told of a man who needed surgery to repair a badly injured knee. The man asked the surgeon “how long would it take the knee to be completely healed after the surgery?” The surgeon replied, “I will do the surgery, but it’s up to God to do the healing.” I think that was a wise response. There is a limit to modern medicine. Providers do the very best we can by our patients, but we do not have all of the answers. I believe that where we end in our abilities, that is where God begins. There are a host of scriptures on healing of illnesses recorded in the Bible, including wise sayings about depression.
Philippians 4:6 NIV Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Isaiah 53:5 NIV But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.

Psalm 147:3 NIV He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

Jeremiah 30:7 NIV How awful that day will be! No other will be like it. It will be a time of trouble for Jacob, but he will be saved out of it.

Psalm 107:19-20 NIV Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress.  He sent out his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave.

Matthew 15:30-31 NIV Great crowds came to him, bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute and many others, and laid them at his feet; and he healed them. The people were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled made well, the lame walking and the blind seeing. And they praised the God of Israel.


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